Things You Didn’t Know You Could Rent

There are so many good reasons to rent rather than buy some items in life—it allows you to test out a model or brand before you commit to buying; it gives you more time to save to buy, even if you have a need for the item now; it allows you the convenience of temporary use when you only need the item once or infrequently; it saves you the need to find storage for the item; and, last but not least, it prevents over-consumption and saves items from the landfill.

So, with all those benefits, have you ever considered renting some of these items?

Camping gear and sports equipment

Many sports are seasonal, as is camping for most people. This makes both types of items ideal for rental. This is even more true if you don’t live in an area where you can use the equipment for an entire season—say you don’t live near any snowy mountains but enjoy downhill skiing occasionally. Renting sports equipment is also great when trying out a new sport and for kids, who are still growing and may need new gear every year.

Look for large chains like REI for renting outdoor equipment and Play It Again Sports for sports gear.

Rent-to-adopt chickens

Has hobby or cottage farming caught your eye? Why not start with chickens—and chickens you can rent are even better because it saves you from committing to the whole setup all at once. And many companies will offer you the chance to adopt the chickens after your rental.

Most companies will rent you several chickens (based on your egg-output needs, space, and budget) plus a portable coop and other supplies for the rental period. Pricing will depend on location and how many chickens you want to rent but should include delivery, setup, pickup after the rental period, food and water dishes, and sufficient food.

Formal and special event clothing

This might be one of the easiest ways to save money and closet space without sacrificing style. Websites like Rent the Runway and The Black Tux give you nearly endless outfit options with easy returns, varying rental durations, and a free backup size, just in case.

Designer handbags and jewelry

To complete your classy, rented outfit, you can also rent designer handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, and other accessories. Some companies operate on a subscription or membership basis and others on single-rental terms. Be sure to check out Switch, Adorn, Haute Vault, Bag Borrow or Steal, and Rent the Runway for high-end accessories.

Cameras, video cameras, and accessories

As far as smartphone cameras have come, there are still times when you’ll want a professional camera or video camera to capture memories. See how much you can save by renting from any of the growing number of the online camera rental businesses.

Wedding (or other big event) cake

A cake that is more sculpture than food can cost in the hundreds or thousands of dollars—they look great for photos, but most guests probably wouldn’t say it tastes any better than fresh sheet cake (most big event cakes are baked days in advance and then refrigerated for all the decorations).

For a fraction of the cost, consider renting a cake built of Styrofoam with real fondant icing. There’s even a cutout in the back to put a real slice of cake in for your cake-cutting photo, then the fake cake can be wheeled back to the kitchen…and fresh, much less expensive sheet cake slices wheeled out to guests.

A casket

Caskets can start at $2,000 and can quickly reach $10,000. That’s a huge cost on top of other funerary expenses. Consider renting a casket for the funeral and then burying your loved one in a simpler option. This gives you more money to spend on other meaningful expenses, like food, flowers, donations to a favorite charity, rental space, or even paying for loved ones to attend the funeral.

Luggage

This can be larger luggage for extended trips, high-end brands, or specialty travel bags for ski, golf, and other sports equipment. There are also rooftop carriers for cars and bicycle travel gear.

Garden plot

No lawn? No problem. Rent a plot from a community garden or use YardYum to rent part of someone else’s garden!

Garage and storage space

Companies and websites like Store at My House allow you to rent space from your neighbor instead of paying for a storage unit.

Goats

Goats are a wonderfully sustainable and green option for lawn “mowing.” Most companies rent the animals out on a per day, per goat, per acre charge. Water troughs, nutritional supplements (if needed for extended rental), and electric fencing if needed are provided. Goats are cheaper than mowing services and will easily consume invasive plants like kudzu, ivy, thistle, and poison oak.

Solar panels

Solar panel rentals are either based on a monthly fee, where you keep all the power generated, or based on signing the generated power over to the company and purchase the power from them that you need at a cheaper rate than the local utility company. Fees can include setup, maintenance, and takedown.

Bed sheets

This walks the line between rental and subscription service, but it’s so unique and so great for sustainability efforts that it had to be included in the list! Coyuchi for Life is a linen service where you subscribe to the program in six-, 12-, or 24-month increments. At the end of your chosen period, you will receive a new set of linens (can be sheets, towels, and/or duvet covers) before you send back your old ones, which will be renewed, up-cycled, or recycled. The company does this through re-selling to third parties and up-cycling into other items like curtains—all to support Coyuchi’s mission of alleviating the millions of textiles that end up in landfills each year.